London: The detection of the new coronavirus variant ‘Omicron’ which is highly contagious and capable of frequent mutations has raised global concern.
The Network for Genomics Surveillance in South Africa (NGS-SA) had identified the variant on Monday. It had detected a group of related SARS-CoV-2 viruses, which belong to a lineage named B.1.1.529.
The first Omicron variant was reported in South Africa on November 24 by the World Health Organization (WHO) The WHO later has declared a new coronavirus variant to be “of concern” on November 27.
Germany declared South Africa as a “virus variant area” and decided to ban all flights from South Africa, the statement was given by Minister of Health Jens Spahn on November 27.
The Health Ministry in the German State of Bavaria reported two confirmed cases of the new variant. The two people entered Germany at Munich airport on November 24, before Germany designated South Africa as a virus-variant area, and were isolating, said the Ministry.
Following curbs in Germany, the Israeli government on Sunday decided to ban the entry of foreign nationals into the country in an attempt to stop the spread of a new variant of Covid-19.
Two cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant have been detected in Britain, British Health Secretary, Sajid Javid said. The cases detected in Chelmsford and Nottingham are “linked” and the two individuals are now self-isolating along with their households while further tests and contact tracing take place, he added on Saturday.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said all travelers entering Britain must take a PCR test by the end of the second day after their arrival and must self-isolate until they receive a negative test result.
Meanwhile, a case of Omicron was also detected in Italy.
Maldives government said on Sunday that it has also barred travelers from seven African countries over concerns about the new Omicron variant of COVID-19. Travelers will not be allowed from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini, the health ministry said in a statement.
Many countries worldwide, including the United States, Brazil, Canada, and European Union nations, Iran, Japan, New Zealand, Thailand have announced travel restrictions on southern Africa.